‘Supermums’ more likely to be depressed

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Working mothers who expect that a successful career and family life can be blended with relative ease, are more likely to become depressed than women who accept they “cannot do it all”, according to a new research. They become frustrated when they fail to measure up to their own expectations. “Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are designed for employees without child-care responsibilities,” said sociologist Katrina Leupp of Washington University. In reality, juggling home and work lives requires some sacrifice such as cutting back on work hours and persuading husbands to help more, she said. “You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you are willing to let some things slide,” Leupp said. Leupp found the stay-at-home mothers had more symptoms of depression than the working ones. There was some truth to the adage that “stay-at-home mums have the hardest job in the world”, she concluded. Among the working women, Leupp found those who bought into the “supermum” myth, consistently agreeing as young adults that women can combine employment and family care, were at a higher risk of depression compared with those who had a more realistic view.